Turkmenistan - Country Commercial Guide

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2020-10-15


Large scale reforms to improve infrastructure in the road, railway, maritime, and air transportation sectors of Turkmenistan are underway. Since 1992, the volume of freight transportation in Turkmenistan has increased in all sectors, particularly by road. Between 2011 and 2015, the government planned to complete upgrades to the Turkmenbashy – Ashgabat – Mary – Turkmenabat – Farap M-37 highway running from the Caspian Sea to the Uzbek border and the P-1 Dashoguz – Ashgabat highway crossing the country from north to south; both projects, however, remain under construction. All construction work on the 564 km Turkmenbashy – Ashgabat highway, which was expected to be the country’s first toll road, was suspended when the Turkish contractor Polimeks walked away from the project, reportedly because of non-payment from the Government of Turkmenistan. The government announced in January 2019 that closed joint stock company “Turkmen Awtoban” will design and construct the 600km long Ashgabat-Turkmenabat highway in three phases: Ashgabat-Tejen by December 2020, Tejen-Mary by December 2022 and Mary-Turkmenabat by December 2023. Road upgrades are needed in many parts of the country, in particular outside of Ashgabat. The Uzen–Gyzylgaya–Bereket–Etrek–Gorgan international railway, also known as the North-South Railway (NSR) or the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran Railway, opened in 2014. The NSR connects the Kazakh and Iranian railway systems through Turkmenistan with a junction at Bereket linking to Turkmenistan’s east-west mainline. The new railway is expected to transport 10 million tons of goods annually. In November 2016, the Turkmen and Afghan presidents opened a single-track rail linking Kerki, Turkmenistan, to Aqina, Afghanistan, and a rail link from Serhetabat, Turkmenistan, to Toraghundi, Afghanistan, in February 2018.

In May 2018, Turkmenistan completed the expansion of the international seaport in Turkmenbashy, on the Caspian Sea shore. The new port includes ferry, passenger, and container terminals, as well as ship repair facilities. These new services are intended to increase cargo traffic in the region. The new port has a total annual capacity of 17 million tons of dry cargo, 300,000 passengers, and 75,000 vehicles.

Turkmenistan Airlines (TurkmenHowaYollary or THY) is the state-owned air carrier, with a passenger fleet of Boeing aircraft. From 2013-2020 Boeing has delivered five new 737-800 passenger planes to Turkmenistan. According to the National Program for the Development of Civil Aviation of Turkmenistan for the period 2012-2030, the number of new aircraft in THY’s commercial fleet will increase from 20 to 39. In recent years, Turkmenistan Airlines briefly added new international flights to Kuala Lumpur and Riga, before cancelling them indefinitely, and announced new flights to Milan and Doha, which never commenced. Luxembourg’s Cargolux transports cargo via Turkmenbashy. The government constructed new airports in the cities of Turkmenbashy, Mary, and Turkmenabat as well as new runways at the Ashgabat and Dashoguz Airports. In 2018, the Government of Turkmenistan announced international tenders for the construction of new airports in Garabogaz and Kerki.

In addition to Turkmenistan Airlines, international carriers such as Turkish Airlines, S7, Belavia, FlyDubai, Cargolux, and China Southern Airlines operate international flights servicing Turkmenistan. The government expressed an interest in joining the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) in 2013 but at present is not an IATA member. Lufthansa suspended its service to Ashgabat indefinitely in October 2019.  The Commercial Maritime Code of 2008 regulates commercial navigation, addresses freight transport, transport of passengers and their baggage to a foreign port, emergency operations, and accidents with other ships. In addition, it includes provisions on crew certification, state registration of ships and ship ownership titles, sea traffic control systems, maintenance of seaways, and environmental protection.

Severe disruptions to air travel associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have affected both passenger and cargo flights.  Consult the embassy website or individual air carriers for the latest information.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Road, railway and port construction and maintenance consultation services; specialized transportation machinery; and solutions to create logistics centers.


Road construction projects; supply of airport navigation equipment; supply of specialized machinery for transporting cement, water, or flour; supply of garbage trucks, street cleaners, cement mixers and dump trucks.

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